Dentists warn us that too many sweets can cause cavities. In fact, it’s not candy, but bacteria on the tooth surface that cause tooth decay. If you reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria, the number of cavities should decrease.
Christine Lang of the Berlin biotech firm Organobalance and her colleagues have developed a candy that can do this. This candy contains dead bacteria that bind to the bacteria most likely to cause cavities.
The researchers knew that another type of bacteria, Lactobacillus paracasei, found in kefir, reduces levels of mutans streptococci and decreases the number of cavities in rats.
A sugar on the surface of L. paracasei binds with mutans streptococci. Lang and her team think that by binding with mutans streptococci, L. paracasei prevents mutans streptococci from reattaching to teeth.